cannabis marketing

Cannabis Marketing, Shedding the Stoner Stereotype Part 2/3

In advertising, branding, cannabis industry, marijuana marketing, packaging by Josh Whitaker

Cannabis Marketing, times have changed.

Can you imagine a white-collar business executive, or a conservative stay at home mom perhaps, walking up to a dispensary counter asking for some “refer?” How about some, “bud?” Or better yet, some, “wacky tabaccy,” or some good old fashioned “dope?” Maybe even just “weed?” Yeah. Me neither.

The terminology alone can feel uncomfortable for many of those interested in trying out new products. Maybe they want to see if certain strains or forms of cannabis may be right for them, but are embarrassed.

The industry needs a new vocabulary.

It needs words that mean what they say, and say what they mean. Language around words and phrases like, “what is the THC or CBD content of this strain of sativa?” “Would indica be a better bet for anxiety, or a hybrid variety?” Or simply, “what kind of cannabis do you recommend for relaxation?”

Avoid the throw-backs from the propaganda of the last many decades around marijuana.  “I’d really like to get totally baked out of my gourd, get so stoned I’m blitzed out of my mind, completely faded.” Umm, what? What does that even mean? Let’s get real. Let’s understand the importance of both legalizing and legitimizing the usage of cannabis products. Words have power because they carry meaning.

Doing it right for Cannabis Marketing

If we take a look at Aficionado Mendicino. Their website makes me feel like I don’t make enough money even to click on their buttons. Dark black, gray tones, leather furniture, words like “exclusive,” “designer,” “genetics,” “refined,” “heirloom,” and “quality,” to name a few are tags. Those are the keyword descriptors for their products. No “dope” here, promise. None at all.

I found their company through a blog by Erik Devany over at Hubspotblogs. Devany, in his blog, gives a nice overview of what is going on here. He quotes the CEO and chief breeder of Aficionado as saying, “Most people within our community scoff at the label of ‘dope-grower,’ whereas locals prefer to label themselves as ‘craftsmen’ and ‘artists.’” Aficionado is taking an approach like the new wave of artisanal…well…everything. It emphasizes the story of the product, the craftsmanship, and the quality. Aficionado produces “elite,” high-end marijuana in Northern California, a region, apparently renowned all over the world for producing award winning cannabis.

It started with medical marijuana where patients wanted appropriate treatment options for their medical conditions. Marketing to medical patients was already different then marketing to pizza-eating, unemployed, young adults wanting to “spark up” and “get ripped.”

Again, through Devany’s informative blogpost, he references Marc Shepard. Shepard is a co-founder of New England’s Cannabis Convention who says that the most successfully marijuana marketers are those who “resist the temptation to converse in the vernacular terms and jokes used to describe recreational marijuana use.” And that it, “sounds simple, but it’s important.”

Words have power, especially in Cannabis Marketing

Anyone in cannabis marketing needs to understand that.

And this goes for the entire industry, not just what comes to mind: growers, dispensaries, and distributors. It’s also all of the off-shoot businesses: the light companies, those who make fertilizer, testing labs, packaging companies, and even staffing companies that are all part. All of them are affected by the language used and the target demographic. Agricultural business owners looking to add on or transition into a cannabis crop, are not going to want to need to know a jargon outside of their already established business environment. They’re simply going to look for the best fertilizer to bring them high-yield quality crops at the time of production. Their looking to sell to other businesses who are no nonsense, above-board, meeting state legal requirements and guidelines for marijuana productions. They are all affected by language.

Let’s not say we are getting rid of the “stoners” themselves, instead it is a maturation of the entire industry, a betterment: increased quality, production, distribution, and supply, with a vocabulary that supports that. After all, it’s always good to learn new things.

Here’s part 3!

And part 1, if you missed it.